Thesis Topic: Interferometric studies of the mass-loss process from cool evolved stars


Thesis Supervisor: Markus Wittkowski







Cool evolved stars of different inital masses and thus luminosities loose considerable amounts of processed material and dust into the interstellar medium. They lie along the Hayashi track in the Hertzsprung Russel diagram and are characterized by low effective temperatures, low surface gravities, and extended atmospheres. These are favorable conditions for molecule and dust formation. However, the detailed mass-loss process is surprisingly little understood for most of these sources.
The PhD project will employ infrared interferometric observations obtained with the VLTI of the molecule and dust formation regions of these sources, aiming at finding common and diverse characteristics of different sources. The project will start with data obtained with the current VLTI instruments AMBER and PIONIER, and will evolve into using the new VLTI imaging Instruments GRAVITY and MATISSE.

Data will be compared to state-of-the-art models, which are available from different international groups. It may be possible to add other VLT instruments or other wavelength regions (e.g. sub-millimetre) to the project.

There is currently an option to apply for this topic in the framework of an ESO studentship together with the PhD programme at the University of Nice, France, under the supervision of Andrea Chiavassa. See for more details on this option.

(updated on 14.04.2017)

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